Sometimes in life you have to get a little lost before you are truly able to find your way.

Posts tagged ‘Pets’

Recovering Plan-a-holic

I grew up a planner. I planned everything. Always. I had back up plans. I had backup plans for my backup plans. I did this from the time I was a little kid until I was an adult…sitting amidst the ruins of years worth of failed plans. Then I realized, life simply can’t be planned…at least not in any long-term fashion. (SHOCKER – I know! – well at least now you can’t say I never taught you anything!) One more important matter – it never pays to get attached to our plans.

There is a wonderful Chinese proverb that states that “To enjoy the life we deserve, we must first let go of the one we planned.” I used to read that saying every week while sitting in the waiting room of my therapist’s office. I would recite it over and over until I felt like I could MAYBE start doing it rather than just reading it. That went a little something like this…

“Ok, so I’m not married to my college sweetheart. And we don’t have a cute house in a great neighborhood. Our home isn’t filled with two kids (Jacob and Kiley) and our two dogs – Nala (our German Shepherd) and Tucker (our Golden) – in           addition to Piper and Chloe, of course. Instead, I’m 34, never married, not dating anyone, no kids and no dogs. And never owned a home. Drifting between the homes of friends and family while still waging a war against my own body and fighting desperately for social security disability.”

Eh – no problem – that other life, the one I had planned in absurd detail – it probably wouldn’t have been so great anyway. Ok – so it’s still hard sometimes not to at least wonder about that life. But here’s what’s more important, and more exciting. This life – the actual day-to-day real one that I never planned and often don’t know if I can handle – this one is full of undiscovered potential. Yes, that’s right I said POTENTIAL. And if you think it’s tough to imagine loads of potential while huddled in a painful ball in a dark, silent room…you’re sometimes right. But practice really does make perfect. And I’m getting there. I might not have all the things I imagined I would at this stage of my life. But I have a great deal more strength and resilience and faith than I ever would have if things had just gone according to plan. So I am hopeful and optimistic, and yes, even grateful. Not for losing the man I loved, but for the ways this life has tested me and fortified me. And for all the possibilities that remain.

Speaking of possibilities – this week has brought a firestorm of opportunity (and challenge). I learned that our request for an expedited Social Security Disability Hearing had been approved and that it will take place tomorrow at 2 pm. From the time I learned this until…well, earlier tonight, I have prepared and planned and stressed and planned some more. I have been frustrated with my attorney who, in my estimation has not done nearly enough of any of those things. But I sit here now and I realize – I can’t plan or stress tomorrow into being successful. Yes, preparation is needed. But I went far beyond preparation. I was looking for something that does not exist. I wanted a guarantee. And my hearing tomorrow, as with all things in life – comes with no guarantee. So I will go in as prepared as I can. I will let go of all the planning and the resentment toward my attorney. I must simply accept that he knows how to do his job better than I do.

I will either win the appeal or not. But it will all happen one step at a time. I’ll finish this post. I’ll relax and spend time with my mom and step-dad and cuddle with my cats. I’ll (hopefully) get a good night’s rest. I’ll get up and take tomorrow, similarly, one step at a time. Then, after putting one foot in front of the other through this incredibly important day, my hearing will be over. And both my lawyer and I will have done all we can do until the judge renders a decision. And I am (almost alarmingly so) at peace with that.

I spoke with a friend earlier tonight. He questioned me about what I will do if the judge rules against me. Fighting everything in me that yearns to plan for every contingency….I simply said, “I don’t know. I will cross that bridge when..IF…I come to it.” I smiled, pleased with myself. I must be doing something right. I’ve apparently learned a lesson somewhere along the way. And in this particular moment, it appears that my energy could be put to far better use than planning that which cannot be planned! If you don’t believe me…just as Chloe…

International cat sign for “GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME!”

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Saving my Baby

I write a lot about how much I love my animals and how much they do for me and how I would do anything for them. We all say that…”I would do anything for”…fill in the blank. The hard part comes when aren’t able to keep that promise. I love my munchkins so much it hurts. But reality is what it is. I have limitations – physical and otherwise.

One of my two cats, Piper, is really sick. She needs surgery. I’ve done everything I can do for her. I have worked with multiple vets who have been incredibly kind and generous. She is a fighter. She’s been getting by with supportive care longer than anyone expected. But she needs this surgery. Her pancreas is already incredibly compromised, as is her liver, and her kidneys will be next.

I have set up a fundraising Web site to try to raise the money for her surgery. I know that most people reading this blog are in tough physical and financial situations just like I am. I appreciate that. I know many of you depend on your furry friends just like I do. Or you have organizations devoted to promoting the healing power of the connection between humans and animals. Even the smallest gift would be immeasurably appreciated.

Please check out the Web site: Save Piper! and forward it to as many people as you can. The more people that see it, the better chance we have of raising the money that will save her life.

Thank you so much – from my heart and hers!

Thank you and Screw you!

To the kind stranger on the bus, my appearance must have matched how I was feeling the other day when you offered me your seat. It was a long ride and you didn’t have to do that. I want you to know how very grateful I am for your genuine kindness. Thank you.

To my beloved furry friends, you have been by my side during every high and low of this remarkably long journey. You never waver. We celebrate together, we get knocked down together; and get right back up together…we endure together. You embody all that is unconditional. I love each of you so much. Thank you.

To my Coworker, you are just awful. Daily you put on your little show of friendship while undermining me further and further. You betrayed my confidence and revealed sensitive information regarding my medical condition to our boss all in an effort to take my job. How do you live with yourself? Screw you.

To my Doctor, Thank you for finally being the first to not give up on me. To not tell me that my only option is pain management with narcotics. To commit to finding the real answers, no matter what it took. For not being afraid to admit that you don’t have the answers right now, but we’ll figure it out together no matter how many specialists we have to work with. Thank you for being so committed to helping me stop just surviving, and finding a way to start living again! Thank you!

Dear random person on the street full of judgement and ignorance, you don’t even know I exist. You have no idea I overheard your horrible conversation the other day about the guy from your office who was “annoying the crap out of you” because your boss had agreed to give him a special schedule because “he freaking has headaches or some shit.” You said “it’s a freaking headache, get over it already! If I whined and asked to go home every time I got a headache I’d never get anything done!” Then I heard you say the word “cluster.” You even said that you had no idea what it was! You admitted that you are not educated about what this man is going through, and yet you have no problem judging him or your boss for his need to have an altered work schedule? I highly suggest that you do look up cluster headaches and I pray that you will never have first hand experience of what your co-worker is going through as it is one of the most painful headache disorders known to man! Screw you!

To my Dear Friend, you have been there for me, been there with me, literally, through so many difficult times, and equally, I am so pleased to be able to say, through so many wonderful moments over the years. Ours is a bond that is seemingly unbreakable. I am so grateful to you for so many, many things. Thank you!

Dear Wonderful Coworker, Thank you for being so fair, and brave. We hardly knew one another, but you saw something unjust taking place, and you came to me with the truth just in time for me to save myself. I am so grateful to you for your amazing strength of character, your grace and your selflessness. Thank you!

To my Boss, I know you are still young and fairly inexperienced. I make some allowances for that. Only some. Rather than comment on the past, I will wish you better for the future. I will hope that you will learn from the mistakes that have been made. I will hope that my life will have impacted you significantly enough that should you again work with someone with a chronic illness, you will remember how much more effort it takes to do the same work, and that he or she is coming to work sick/in pain everyday, so if they are calling out sick, it’s because things are really, REALLY bad, and that your remarks questioning the veracity of their claim are entirely inappropriate. I know not everyone who suffers from chronic conditions is a paragon of truth, so of course, use your discretion, but that, I would hope, would already have been done before you hire. Going forward, please keep in mind what people go through. Try to imagine walking in their shoes before you hit them over the head with them. Screw you!

To my Family, I know that my illness has taken a great toll on you all, but you have supported me in so many amazing ways. I know that you have not always agreed with all of my treatment options, but you’ve recognized that all options had to be explored. I know that above all else, it has been so difficult to not be able to fix any of this for me, to not be able to make me feel better, not to be able to make it right or lessen my pain. But you have all been with me along this journey, sometimes literally!…but always supporting me in ways that I have needed. I know you hate all the medication, but thank you for finally realizing that I have exhausted all of the other options. It is not ideal; I do not enjoy it, but I accept it and it makes me better. I am grateful to each of you for all the many ways you have helped me pass the point of just existing, just surviving, so I can get back to living. Thank you.

To my Love, this battle has taken perhaps that greatest toll on you. You have had to live it with me every day. Through every high and every low. Every dashed hope, every failed treatment. Every insurance battle and long night in the E.R. You have weathered all of my positive moments and my hopeless crashes and burns. You’ve played chauffeur, nurse, (despite your fear of needles!), even cook and maid when I could get off the couch for months on end. You’ve gone to extremes I would never have asked or expected. There were good moments. There were not so good moments. But you loved me through all the moments. Each and every one. I am so grateful for the many ways you saved my life. Sadly it cost us our life together.

To myself, thank you for getting up and tackling each day as an opportunity. THANK YOU!

Missouri Sacrifices Animal and Voter Rights

Missouri is the nation’s leader in cruel, inhumane, unregulated puppy mill operations. Annually they supply pet stores with more puppies than any other state – by far. Recently there seemed to have been a glimmer of hope on the horizon for millions of pups in Missouri. Last November voters in Missouri passed the ASPCA-supported Prop B – The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (PMCPA). But this past Wednesday, the Missouri House of Representatives voted 85-71 in favor of Senate Bill 113, rejecting the will of the state’s voters and eliminating all of the newly established humane improvements outlined in the PMPCA! Not only is this a terrifying move in the wrong direction, but perhaps even more scary, an absolutely grotesque violation of the democratic process.

Missouri Attorney General Koster at a puppy mill raid

Unless Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, vetoes it, Senate Bill 113 will become state law. If passed, this bill will not only do away with all of the provisions of the PMPCA such as increased cage sizes, a ban on wire flooring and a restriction on the frequency of breeding, but it will actually LESSEN the already deplorable “standards” – if you can even call them that, which currently govern commercial breeding. Not only will these awful effects be suffered by dogs in Missouri, but the precedent that this sets for many other states currently considering commercial breeding reform will have a deep and lasting influence.

So what can you do? Please reach out to every single person you know in Missouri and urge them to CALL Governor Nixon to voice their deep concern over this issue and ask him to veto SB 113. If you live in Missouri, get on the phone fast! Start a petition and send it in ASAP! Do whatever you can to make it clear to Governor Nixon that Missourians have spoken. They do not support animal cruelty and that their elected officials have a duty to act according to their constituents’ desires…not their own. Share this post via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or any other way you can.

For more details on what this bill will mean for dogs in Missouri, please visit the ASPCA Web site or the following article from ZOE Nature.

This injustice will not just be felt by the dogs born in puppy mills, but by every participant in our democratic system whose vote SHOULD matter. Thanks for taking a few minutes to make a huge difference!

Crew Member Photo of the Week

Up-side-down Annie!

Meet the Crew

Here at Lost on a Horse Headquarters, there is a very hard-working, incredibly genuine and loving staff that supports me. They may not be your “average” staff, but they’re here everyday, rain or shine, and have been supporting me in this, and every other effort for many years. (Except for those that take me away from home, that is. Those involve a bit of sabotage.) To understand me, it’s important that you meet them.

Yes, those whiskers are really as GIANT as they appear!

The oldest member of my staff is Piper. She is very talkative, well-rounded and has a heart of gold. She’s been with me since October 2000.Piper has an affinity for sitting on my keyboard (she’s trying to take over the blog, so if it suddenly changes dramatically, that could be why). She is a shameless dog-food thief. She is incredibly friendly and will talk with just about anyone. After she returned to me having spent a few months living at my mother’s house, (I was “in transition”) Mom, who claims not to like cats, said, “It’s so quiet around here, I have no one to talk to in the morning anymore without Piper!” She’s irresistible.

As you can see she keeps a pretty tight hold on me!

Next in line for seniority is Chloe. (Although she’ll tell you she’s really running the show…and sometimes I think she might be right!) Chloe spends a lot of time telling me what to do. Most of her demands are pretty simple though. “Feed me. Love me. No I won’t come downstairs because then I have to share you, so come UPSTAIRS and love me. Get the dog away from me. Get off the computer now. Put that suitcase away!” Really she gets a bad rap for all her demands but the way I see it, she just speaks up a bit more about her (very reasonable) needs than most.  I admire her for it actually. She’s been very helpful in my own quest to be better about voicing my needs in certain relationships. She’s really a softy…all she wants is to cuddle all the time every day, every night and if she could find a time in between…then too! Can’t fault her for that.

She loves the fuzzy blankets...just like Mommy!

And the youngest member of the crew is Miss Annabelle. Also known as Annie, Annie B, Annie Pants, Annabellisimo, Annikins, Belles….the list goes on. It’s a wonder she even knows we’re talking to her actually. Annie came into my life 2  years ago. Dan (my roommate and, at the time, significant other) and I had decided it was finally time to get a dog. After looking at local shelters and through hundreds of profiles on Petfinder I suddenly knew I was staring at our dog. I put in the application and a few short weeks later, we were driving up to PA to pick her up. Annie’s had a tough road…much like Chloe (I’ll get into that some other time!). She had Parvo when we got her, has had a number of viruses and bacterial infections, and injured shoulder and relentless allergies. But her energy and good nature surpass them all and she brings joy and endless entertainment into our lives!

These are the faces of the crew that support me. On good days, bad days and everything in between, they are there everyday reminding me that life is sweet, and that it’s worth having a good stretch in the morning (or anytime, really), running around like  you’re a kid without a care, putting on a silly face and most importantly, spending quality time with the ones you love. If you follow the blog they will become familiar faces in your life too; that much I can promise!

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